By Henri Gendreau
The Village Inn (VI) has adopted a new policy of checking two forms of IDs, marking hands and patrolling the establishment in efforts to curb the possible consumption of alcohol by underage students.
Jerry Kelly, owner and partner of the VI, said the impetus for the new policy came from a conversation he said he had with Director of Campus Safety Bob Hooper.
What [Safety] told us was that there were four students who were squaded to the ER with alcohol poisoning and that three of those four students claimed that they had been drinking at the VI, Kelly said. Kelly assumed this incident had occurred on Feb. 6, the day before he said Hooper contacted him.
However, no records were found with the Knox County Sheriffs Office or Safety about such events occurring on or around Feb. 6 and Second-Shift Supervisor Gregory von Freymann said there had certainly not been a hospital run of that magnitude this semester.
I dont think any of that changes substantially the situation or the story much from my point of view anyway, he added. If there are students who are drinking in a dangerous way, we certainly dont support or allow that at the VI.
So this month the VI adopted new policies like requiring two forms of identification at the door and scouting the room to prevent underage drinking.
Kelly said that the VI would never allow the kind of behavior that would lead to a person being sent to the hospital. None of my bartenders would ever serve any person whether they were younger or older that was anywhere near the level of intoxication that would lead to alcohol poisoning, he said.
Underage drinking in particular is a difficult issue for us right now and its a difficult issue for the College and for our society, Kelly said. There are very, very good fake IDs in circulation now. A lot of underage people have them. Theyre kind of expensive but theyre incredibly good. We have taken them and compared themside by side, a fake and a real, and theyre indistinguishable.
Kelly said he has seen empty cans of beer at the VI of a type the restaurant does not sell, and if underage students were caught drinking at the bar despite not having been served, it could result in a $1,500 fine per drink on the bartender and a $6,000 fine per drink on the business, with the threat of a revoked license. Ensuring underage students are not allowed to drink on the premises is critical, Kelly said.
If they do these things, smuggling in their own beer, sharing drinks with under-agers, underage people, theyre putting us at grave risk as a business and its not out of the realm of the possibility that the VI had to close up, Kelly said. If we were hit with these kinds of fines and our license is taken away, wed lock the doors and turn out the lights and were done as a business.
As long as students continue bringing their own alcohol in here, [the policy is] going to stay in effect, he added.
Kelly sees the VI as serving an important role on campus a place where students can learn how to drink responsibly. You can learn it here in a safe environment or you can learn it the hard way when you get to New York, or San Francisco, where the bartenders will not be as kind, and if you walk into a bar and you dont know what youre doing, they will ridicule you or throw you out or embarrass you in front of your friends, Kelly said. We want people to learn how to function as adult drinkers here and now so that they can take that with them when they leave.
Kelly warned students bent on harming themselves and the VI to stay away. If someone wants to drink like a 14-year-old, theyre not going to do it here, he said. Kenyon students need to be careful that they dont allow small groups of reckless people to ruin it for everybody.
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